I enjoy Cabin in the Woods; it is a good balance of horror and comedy. A lot of what happens to the group after they “choose” is closer to legitimate horror. There is tension, gore, jump scares, and a decent amount of fear. It probably won’t land for the most hardcore of us genre fans, but it is enough for me that I don’t feel it is just a straight comedy.
In fact, it reminds more of Shaun of the Dead, funny until partway in the second act, then it takes a sharp turn, then loops it back around. Shaun loops it with an amusing ending. Cabin loops it by giving horror fans over the top gore that delights us in that way we maybe don’t like the world to know about. I will forever laugh at that first elevator ding then… well, you know.
Still, there is something about this movie I have always had issues with, and I am not exactly sure. Something about the tone, especially with the upper world, doesn’t sit exactly right with me. But maybe that is the nature of it. For all of its jokes and poking fun at tropes, Cabin in the Woods is ultimately about good characters being punished for entertainment. Now in their world, it’s real and raises the question of when does humanity stop being worth saving. I think for horror fans, though, it can feel slightly… judgmental? Although that might be unfair.
Horror is a genre that has an underlying cruelty to it, so I am glad that this movie did not ignore that and, in fact, again confronted the characters (and thus audience) with it.
I like this movie, but I hesitate to rank it as high as, say, Tucker and Dale. Each time I watch it, my reaction changes ever so slightly, so maybe I will eventually settle on final thoughts. In the meantime, I will enjoy the jokes and enjoy the process of watching and thinking about it.